The UK regulatory watchdog – the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)– has started an investigation of one of 888 Holdings’ subsidiaries in order to make an assessment whether there have been violation of the customer service protection rules.
The review is very likely to last for a few months. It comes year and a half after the UKGC first implemented the requirement for online gaming operators to make sure they provide their customers with the opportunity to temporarily exclude themselves from gambling by suspending their accounts directly through the website.
The announcement has led to a drop in the company’s shares, taking them down 5.9%. This is the largest decline of 888 Holding’s shares since June 2016.
The UKGC is expected to evaluate whether the 888-owned company is operated in line with the social responsibility requirements to provide effective procedures in order to help players manage their gambling in a better way.
One of the most commonly-used social responsibility measures is the self-exclusion option that allows punters to stay away from gambling activities for at least six months. As revealed by 888 Holdings itself, the UK Gambling Commission will review the efficiency of the self-exclusion tools offered by the online betting group’s subsidiaries across their operating platforms.
There is another feature, known as a time-out feature, offered to online gamblers to give them the opportunity to prevent themselves from taking part in certain gambling activities for some time. Currently, online gambling operators are required to make sure they offer players the chance to stay away from gambling for 24 hours, a week, a month or a maximum of six weeks.
If the British gambling regulatory authority’s findings prove that 888 Holdings’ subsidiary has breached social responsibility measures and customer service protection requirements, it would probably face a fine. According to Canaccord Genuity, the company has a strong balance sheet and is profitable enough to be able to deal with the expenses.
The UKGC’s review of the 888 Holdings’ subsidiary is aimed to make sure that the entity has carried out its licensed activities in compliance with the operating license that the Gambling Commission had granted it with.
888 Holdings commented on the UKGC review, saying that it was always aimed at providing its customers with both qualitative and enjoyable gaming experience and responsibility.
This is not the first time when the UK regulatory authorities have initiated reviews as part of their policy for tighter scrutiny over the local gambling operators. As a matter of fact, local regulators have been aimed at increasing the monitoring over the gambling companies, especially in regards to the latter’s social responsibility practices.
At the beginning of May 2017, the UK Gambling Commission punished BGO Entertainment by imposing a fine of £300,000 for misleading advertising. That was the very first time when the Commission has issued such a fine.